Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Slice Of Zimbabwe



I was leafing through the coin section of my wallet at Tim Horton's one day when I discovered it: my Zimbabwe coin. It's worth 10... something, and has a picture of a bird sitting on a crown on one side, and a majestic-looking tree on the other. What this symbolism means I cannot say, and amidst a world of easy answers I'm happy with that ambiguity. I've never been to Zimbabwe or Rhodesia or even Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, so the coin must have slipped through numerous hands--undoubtedly arms dealers, dope smugglers and mercenaries--in its intercontinental journey from Africa to North America. Whether it is a sign from the gods or not, I take it as one and keep it handy as a charm.

To me this coin is a link to uncharted territories. While I'd love to see the imposing stone ruins of Zimbabwe, given the current state of that ill-run and impoverished nation it will have to wait. Nevertheless, by keeping this coin near me I'm reminded that there's more to the world than my small corner of it. There are places free from winter, political stability, familiar cultural touchstones and maybe even McDonalds. Somewhere between Mozambique and Zambia, in the fabled year of 1991, a coin was minted that travelled across oceans and hemispheres to end up in my wallet. Someday it'll be my turn to send something back.

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